FELIX OLOYEDE | It is easier to get a customer than keeping him, because competitors are out there always devising ways to poach him. This is why many startups don’t outlive their first year of their operations. So, if your business must survive in the midst of stiff competition, you have to from time to time improve on your customer satisfaction so that your customers would develop loyalty to your brand. And to achieve, you have consistently improve on what made them to prefer your product in the first place.
The one of the main challenges that a small business owner must always strive to subdue is making your customers happy all the time. Once you are able to achieve this, you would always be in business come rain or sun. To win your achieve this, you have to put in place some of the structures that would be discussed below.
Put in a customer service plan
No matter how courteous you are, in course of doing your business as a SME operator, you would definitely come across difficult situations and problematic clienteles. So that you are caught unaware, you should have a plan in place to tackle these challenges as they come up. Always remember that failure to plan is a plan to fail.
By implementing a customer service plan that tells you and your employees what to do in heated situations, you have a much better of chance of not only calming the customer down, but retaining their business.
For example, your plan should tell you what to do if one of your buyers comes in with a faulty product that you accidentally sold them.
The plan should have an immediate solution for you; in this case to take back the faulty item, and replace the product while giving the customer five per cent of the cost back as an apology. This way you have calmed the situation down, while increasing your chances of seeing the customer again.
Pre-empt your customer’s problems
This will require you to fully assess your business to determine what its weaknesses are. You will be able to identify the common problems that your customers could come to you with, which gives you time to anticipate the problem before it has even begun.
For example, if you’re a local food retailer and you get complaints about shortages in a certain type of food, either up the order to accommodate greater demand, or find another supplier that can help you meet your client’s needs.
Train your staff thoroughly
Service with a smile is a sure-fire way to ensure your customer’s satisfaction. Your staff should treat your regulars like a family member. Establishing trust and a friendly relationship with your clients will keep them coming back.
Your staff should know your customer service plan inside-out, and should be trained in basic customer service skills. Any money spent on this is always worthwhile.
Make visible changes
If a customer comes to you with a complaint or a helpful idea, take it into consideration. Show your shoppers that they and their point of view are important to you by addressing some need or preference they’ve identified. Make them believe that you are out to serve them and you are committed to doing this.
A simple way of achieving this is putting in place a suggestion box within your shop front, or if you operate online, encourages customer feedback via social media.
Follow up with customers
Everybody wants to be appreciated. So, always make your customers feel they are kings and of course they are, because they are the reason why you are in business in the first place. Therefore, make feel appreciated by following them up a few days after they’ve made a complaint or left unsatisfied.
A few seconds phone call or writing a note to say ‘thank you’ or ‘how can we make our service better for you?’ will leave a lasting impression and make your buyers feel happy and important.